Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Van... progress of NOCC...

New Old Chicken Coop

Well, if you remember not that long ago I said that we got an old van and we were going to make it into a extra chicken coop, that is what we have been doing this morning.

I will run through what we have done so far :) We have paused this outside game because it is so hot right now, went shopping for things, now time to hide from the sun until the evening and keep going :)

Wait... before we start, I need (want) to explain something. All our animals are free-range, in the end. When we get new additions to our family we put them in an "isolation" pen, which is not anywhere near the others. This is for a short period to asses them and make sure they don't have anything that might spread to the others before we can contain it (ticks, fleas, lice, etc.). There is one other pen that we are building, which is the one that the van is turning into. This is for new additions to our family that can not be trusted yet, ones that need to know where home is. This is because they are either older and have a home and might try to return to it, or something (like the new guinea fowl) that have such are large home base (meaning they fly around and do what they want during the day) and they need to establish a home so they know where to come home, where is safe. So that is what this is for, so the Guinea Fowl can live in there for a few months, get the hang of things, and meet the other ladies through the wire, then get introduced properly when they (hopefully) know how to know home safely and on time (or they WILL be grounded).

Back to what I was saying, so what have we done?

This is the van, we towed it into place and chocked it with bricks for now. The idea is that it will lose its tires and have a small breathing space underneath it (bricks holding it up). I will keep stripping it every chance I get (taking the engine out, the interior etc, cleaning it into an empty shell), and we are building a cage to attach to the outer side of this picture. Digger and Scarlet are just assessing the area and ensuring that it is all in order.

From this angle you can see some star pickets that we have driven into the ground (they will come into play shortly), and a door that doesn't close (I have started pulling things apart, I have learnt that you should probably leave the door closing thingys until the end :)

Ok, this is a big stick, a really big stick. You might be thinking 'why do you have a big stick leaning against such a high-class over-powered beast of a van?' Well, it will be used as a frame against the van. So the grand idea is that there is a 'cage' attached to the van, running along the fence until it gets to the other fence (I know, I am lost also), it is about 10 meters long (about 32 ft) and about 3 meters wide (9 ft). This wood is about to be cut (using a hand saw) in roughly half, more important I measured it against the van to where I want it to be, cut it, then the left over part I measured against the part I cut and did it again (because I need two pieces of the same height).

This is what I mean, I got the big long woodie thingie and put it on some bricks (to get it off the ground) and cut it, then cut the other big again, now I have two bits the same size (bottom of the picture) and the bit at the top is now spare, for a different project perhaps.
So here is a little tip. If you don't have fancy 'saw-horses' or whatever you call the bits to keep wood off the ground, use what you have. You don't need to spend money just to cut a bit of wood. I had bricks laying around, so I stacked some up (so the wood was off the ground) and made sure that when I used the hand saw it didn't hit the ground, and done :) The wood is cut, and I have not spent more money than I needed to, happy times all around!

So these are the bits of wood cut to size, they are going to be roughly there and I will have a large piece of wood across the top (it is on the roof of the van in the picture) and that will be the 'door way' frame. The idea is that only that large sliding door will gain access to the pen, the front door of the van is for humans to go and do human-like things (like cleaning), and the sliding door on the other side is to open the place up so all the girls can have fun anywhere they want to when they are not in some form of lock down (this place will also serve as a hospital isolation ward for injuries that mean the girls can't get in the water (sad for ducks) but things like bumble-foot)

So, from a far:
These pipe that are airborne are going to support the wire, and the star pickets are going to support the vertical wire, so it will be like a big arch way. There are trees and life inside here, and that is something that I am going to have to deal with, I just don't know how right now, I am thinking about pruning the trees and keeping them shaped (I normally like to let things go wild).

Just in case you are wondering (and thinking about doing something like this yourself), This is a close view of the pipes, I have the chicken wire tied onto the pipes, this is about 6 ft high chicken wire, I will attach more as we go along (hence the shopping trip today).
The sun is starting to get really hot, and this is a view from near the van facing away. The structure is getting there, but it is hard using mostly recycled parts and just myself and Queen Cassowary doing the job (neither of us actually know what we are doing, but we fake it well!).
Ok, now we stopped this, went shopping then went inside (had lunch and wrote this page), we will keep going shortly and then again tomorrow morning, then hopefully it is done :)
The cleaning out of the van will take a bit longer, then making it into a livable home for the new Guinea Fowl, but that will happen this week.
So here is where we left it, most of the wire on this side is up, the pipes are in location and tied up, the van supports for the cage are cut and ready, just need to finish it off! Exciting!!

I should mention about where these parts all came from, so here we go.
Van = donated by a lovely man in the local area who heard that we could use it for this project
Star pickets = 1/2 purchased new at the hardware shop, the other 1/2 are from the old fences in the area that we have pulled up
Wire = left overs from the other million jobs around here that needed wire (people just don't throw that out)
Pipes = found as broken and mistreated pipes, hidden on the land by the previous owners (thinking we would be upset by finding this?)
Wire Ties = old wire from other jobs, the off cuts that were kept
Wood Frame = an old shed that I scored (if I pulled it down for him)

Well it is coming along, I have a few more things to do inside the house while it is still too hot to play outside, but I will update you all soon about how things are going with this and everything else :)

Thank you for reading this, I hope that you all are either inspired, happy or motivated by what I say to you, and like I have said before, if you want me to do something on this land, if you have an idea that you have wanted to try but don't have the materials or land, please just let me know. I am more than happy to try new things out, and I will let you know what I find out :)

Thank you again for visiting, please come back again and see how things are with this project and so many others.
Have a great rest of your day!